Discover the Life-Changing Magic of Holding Space
You’ve attended an UnConference, a BarCamp, or a self-organising Open Space event, and now you'd love to bring it to your own business or community.
You are ready to try it!
Can it really be as simple as it looks?
The answer is both Yes and No!
Yes: Open Space events operate by simply creating containers for self-organisation and then letting go. After that the people who have gathered will create the event they need. Because “whoever comes is the right people” and “whatever happens is the only thing that could!”
And No: Open Space does not begin where most people think it does: in a circle of chairs. It begins long before, with the discipline of Opening Space with the event sponsors, creating a strong and welcoming invitation, getting the word out, and preparing a supportive space. This is the secret of getting ” the right people” into the opening circle. And then, the magic always follows!
Group sessions held in English. (Steve also speaks German and can assist German-speaking participants.)
The participant's e-workbook study guide by Deborah Hartmann Preuss is available in English and German.
Open Space training commonly takes the form of multi-day workshops, and yet the basics of the method are freely available in books and online. This 1-day course offers a deeper learning approach of guided self-study plus instructor-led workshops to explore and develop your own facilitator practice of opening & holding space for others. We offer this course in two different formats:
In-Person: An intimate live workshop
6-12 participants sharing questions, conversation and meals for one day in a location you choose.
Online: A private workshop spread over several weeks
6-12 participants meet online for 3 live, instructor-led, interactive workshop segments, and work in pairs for self-study segments. (There are no webinars. These are participative, immersive workshops — Coaching Cocktails style.)
Students decide together when the workshops will be held—when we charter the workshop as a group. Online workshops use Zoom conferencing for tele-presence, chat and small group breakouts.
Both workshop formats feature these elements:
- participants study the basics at home: 4 assigned readings followed by reflection and writing exercises. The smartphone-friendly self-study guide is here in english and german.
- an emphasis on "holding space" as a key facilitator practice for planning and executing vibrant events.
- together we co-design a workshop agenda to meet the needs of your specific learning group.
- we bring in our own experiences, when this enhances the topics participants have prioritised.
- a 1-hour checkin for individual phone mentoring is offered free of charge, to help you apply what you've learned when you prepare for your next event.
Two New Online Classes for 2019 are forming now to meet in January and February.
This online workshop is priced at €675/person.
We believe that diversity is energizing and helpful when people work together. So, while this course is priced in line with typical business offerings, at or under €670, we also encourage people in emerging markets and people with limited income or restricted budgets to register with a discount.
If you are passionate about this topic but find the price out-of-reach, please contact us to discuss a price reduction that makes this event accessible to you. Yes, it may feel awkward, but don’t wait! We want to meet you and help you make your event successful!
"Steve is what I might call a space magician... his facilitation appears effortless yet has a depth and mastery to it that creates beautiful spaces for exploration, discovery and openness. I first experienced his facilitation in a retrospective him and Deb held - despite the session being remote, I really enjoyed the tone and structure of the session."
— Kirsten Clacey, South Africa.
YOUR TRAINER AND GUIDE - Steve Holyer
Steve is guiding the first two new groups for 2019.
I am a commitment to the power of invitation. I think you're probably reading this page because you feel the challenge of living, working, and surviving right now require new kinds of leadership by invitation and leadership that holds space for the skills, purpose, and passion of the people. Open Space Technology helps you model and cultivate this type of leadership. I want to help you to practice Open Space Leadership because in practicing it you will master it.
I am an Agile Product Ownership and Fluency Design Coach living in Switzerland and working with people all over the world. I've been part of many Open Space events in Germany, Spain, Poland, South Africa, the USA, and Switzerland as convener, participant and faciliator. I met Deb in Open Space at an Agile Coach Camp Unconference. She created this Open Space workshop. By the time, I studied with Deb I had already facilitated several Open Space events. And, I only learned what Open Space facilitation really means as a participant in Deb's first on-line OS workshop. Today, I've licensed the same course because I believe it's one of the most valuable things I can offer you as a leader, coach, unconference organiser, or facilitator.
YOUR WORKSHOP DEVELOPER & TRAINER – Deborah Hartmann Preuss
My passion is bringing joy back to work. I do this all over Europe as a coach, facilitator, and trainer, living in south-western Germany. I'm really happy that Steve is extending my reach by bringing you this the Open Space Workshop.
I was privileged to learn the practice of Holding Space from Larry Peterson in Canada, and in the past 10 years I have hosted, attended and facilitated many Open Space events, in three languages, in Canada, the US, Germany, France and Switzerland. With Naresh Jain, I co-created the AgileCoachCamp viral conference format, there have been nearly 100 Agile Coach Camps held worldwide since 2008. I rarely attend “traditional” conferences any more! Still curious? There’s more about my work on my website, abiggergame.today.
Read on if you want more specific workshop details:
I assume you enjoy interactive learning, and you are highly motivated, having a particular event already in mind. I also ask you to commit to do 4 assigned reading and writing exercises before arriving for the workshop. The student e-workbook will be sent to your email address in advance of the workshop so you can prepare for calls.
This design allows us all to be up-to-speed on the basics when we meet, so we can get to what’s really interesting: applying Open Space specifically where you need it.
In all workshops, I incorporate “training from the back of the room” teaching elements that keep participants actively engaged to increase presence, learning and retention.
This workshop is a fit for you if:
- you have attended an OpenSpace or BarCamp unconference (if you have not, ask Google to help you find one, and go, quickly!) ... and
- you already have a particular group and event in mind, to use in the exercises.
(alternately, make up a realitic scenario to roleplay with). ... and
- you commit to doing the reading/writing preparation exercises, before arriving at each call.
Every class is different: topics will be covered in more or less depth depending on your level of preparation and the interests of the group. Participants are often experienced facilitators, and have a lot to offer, so I create structures that help us us learn from one another.
When we meet, we’ll cover at least:
- What have you learned so far?Open Space concept map
- What is this “space” we speak of?
- Holding Space: the role of the facilitator.
- The importance of the invitation
- Preparing the “container” – physically and culturally
- Preparing your own script (Law, Principles, Process…)
Depending on participant interest, other likely topics include:
- When to use Open Space, and when not?
- Roleplay: is your organisation ready for Open Space?
- To document or not to document the sessions?
- How do you resist the request to intervene?
- Design a theme that attracts “the right people”
- Practice your opening (particularly for those with real projects coming up).
- Convergence: the Moving to Action step that usually gets left out.
You will leave with
- a deepened understanding of the powerful "holding space" stance modeled by the OS facilitator,
- a first draft of your own facilitation script,
- a personal “next step,”
- a resource list, and
- a small network of passionate peers to collaborate with and call upon!
Sign up now to hold your place!
Get involved here!
Leaders have said …
"This virtual course is an opportunity for deep learning about open space technology. The workbook walks you through key concepts and ways of thinking of 'holding the space' for a group. This is amplified by the format, which allows participants to collaboratively work through how they would prep, open, hold and close an open space. This course was wonderful preparation for both a 100-person 1-day open space and a 50-person 3-day open space I facilitated later in 2015."
- Mark Kilby, agile coach & community leader, USA
"I have been in Steve's Open Spaces which have exceeded any Open Space experience I have had to date. Don't be fooled by the ease with which he conducts his sessions - there is a serious craft behind the apparent simplicity, a kind of craft that in my opinion creates facilitation magic."
- Kirsten Clacey, community leader & Agile Lead, Jumo, South Africa
The next two courses will start in January and February.
(You're invited. We'll decide dates together that work for everyone, when we know everyone's needs.)
- 8 hours over several weeks
- Join us to set call dates
- 650€ +VAT where applicable
- Discount available: Let's talk!
Here are your options:
You're invited to the group's first session. When you signup, we'll send you all the course email. We'll co-design the group's journey together. You will need to purchase a pass before you continue to continue to the second class session.
Signup and purchase your pass before 27 December 2018 and save €100. Once you purchase a workshop pass, we will work to make sure your are able to participate in a workshop.
Can't make it in January or February?
You will get get updates about the next course. When there are six names on the waiting list, we will schedule the next course.
Add a Dojo!
- a one-day in-person "dojo" to practice & get feedback
- right after an online or live workshop, or weeks later
More from Previous Participants …
“I facilitated my first OpenSpace Event last week and it went really well. Several people said that they’ve been at other barcamps but that this was different in a positive way… You opened a whole new world to me… I’m happy and confident.”
— Dina Sierralta, facilitator and change agent, Germany
“I participated in Deborah’s OpenSpace Workshop in 2014. The workshop truly broadened my horizon on this topic. Deborah is a natural fit for this kind of education. She does not teach OpenSpace. She is OpenSpace!”
— Fabian Schiller, agile and scrum coach at idrivemylife.de, Germany
"Deb was instrumental in helping me deepen my understanding of opening a space (for discussion) and holding the space. Her training gave me the confidence to facilitate two AgileCoachCamps and a corporate Open Space."
— Glenn Waters, Enterprise Agility Coach and Trainer, Canada
“[This] workshop on open space helped me a lot, in tackling some tricky questions. I got a lot of valuable input from my discussions with fellow facilitators and we also benefited from Deb’s extensive experience. She suggested a well-defined agenda as a starting point, but let us decide what we wanted to work on, and to work on in depth. Finally, what I liked a lot was that she masterfully connected OST techniques with the principles and values that make OST successful.”
— Rolf F. Katzenberger, coach, facilitator and mentor at Pragmatic Teams, Germany
The original workshop was designed and led by Deborah Hartman Preuss.
Steve Holyer was a workshop participant. Steve and Deb facilitator together often.
The following video was made by workshop participants Lyssa Adkins and Mike Edwards: